After Game 1: Goalies

I rarely listen to podcasts at work – except for stuff that’s arguably work-related, I’ve never done so before. I made an exception today when I saw interviews with Roloson, Conklin, and Markkanen pop up on the Oilers podcast. I had a listen, there’s about 9 minutes with Rolo, a minute and a half with Markkanen, and about 6 with Conklin.
It boils down to this: Roloson says he’ll make a quick recovery, third degree MCL tear or maybe a bit less, but he has no hope at all he’ll be back for the finals. He said for a change, he didn’t feel that when he got run that time that it should have been a penalty, and that Bergeron was just doing his job. He said he also hyperextended his elbow (seeing him favour his arm, I’d thought at first that it was a shoulder injury, so at least I’m not totally out to lunch).
Markkanen didn’t say much, just that it will be “a big challenge” and “a second chance.”
Conklin said MacTavish had yet to make a decision about who’d be starting, and he’d likely find out when the reporters found out. He sees this not as “a second chance, but it’s an opportunity” – something along those lines. Interesting he rejected the words Markkanen used. They asked him about The Play last night, and did he wish it had gone differently – he said “Yeah, I wish the puck hadn’t gone in the net,” and that there’d be plenty of time in the summer to beat himself up, if that’s how things went.
So, yeah. Roloson’s gone, the Oilers are back to where they were in February, except if Conkannen gets hurt or falters, there’s not even Mike Morrison in the ECHL waiting to be called up, just Jeff Drouin-Deslaurier, who has hardly impressed.
They said all the right things, and even with Conkannen stinking it up every other game practically (there was a stretch of what, 5 games, where whoever started didn’t finish?) the team was still above .500. While I have to admit that my hopes aren’t what they were 24 hours ago, I’m hardly ready to concede the bet, sorry Wade.
Why not? Just said, this was a good team even before Roloson came along. They’re playing about as well as can be expected defensively and they haven’t had a lot of trouble scoring goals these playoffs – they’re still in decent shape. They’ve got leadership galore, including Michael Peca who, lest we forget, knows exactly what it’s like to get to the Finals and have one’s hopes dashed to flinders by a crappy play. Ryan Smyth, Chris Pronger, Jason Smith, all those guys know what it’s like to get just the slightest lick of the brass ring. Their younger guys have all been steady.
At the other end of the rink, Ward’s been hot, but so had Toskala been and they lit him up for 6 – twice in a row. Legace was extremely good all year, they got to him too. They pumped 5 pucks by Bryzgalov. Score like that, and the other team’s got to work really hard to beat you. Ward’s young and Gerber’s as vulnerable as Conkannen.
It’ll be tight, but the Oilers are hardly sunk. The series is still very much up in the air.
I’m still going to be reading up on MT docs as to how to change colours though. Just in case. And I wanted to anyway, this default scheme sucks.

5 Replies to “After Game 1: Goalies”

  1. Why not? Just said, this was a good team even before Roloson came along. They’re playing about as well as can be expected defensively and they haven’t had a lot of trouble scoring goals these playoffs – they’re still in decent shape.
    That’s true – in the first 2/3 of Game 1, Roloson wasn’t the one keeping them in the lead – he wasn’t even really tested. It was the Oilers D shutting things down before the goalie even had to worry about a shot. If they can do that again, they’ll be fine with Conklin, Markkanen, or you in goal. :-)
    However, if Carolina figures out how to consitently penetrate the D, then it matters how good the goalie is. On a related note, I saw several fans on alt.sports.hockey.nhl.edm-oilers advocating a return to The Trap given the injury – I wonder how the commish would like to see that?

  2. It seems to me that if Carolina has any glaring weakness, it’s their D. They’re not bad, but they don’t seem to be exceptionally good at moving the puck and aren’t particularly fast or big. Get the puck deep against them and they seem to have trouble clearing the zone. (They do seem to be *very* good on the PK though, good sticks and clogging up the passing lanes.) Best defence is a good offence, after all.
    The trap? I don’t know, I don’t think it’s really required given the above, but we’ll see. Carolina’s forwards are extremely skilled and are great passers, and that’s one of the ways to break the trap. (You need the good first pass from the D too though, which seems to be missing from guys who aren’t named Wesley.)
    I think it’ll still be interesting – Rolo getting hurt is about the best thing that could happen to the Hurricanes though, almost as good as Buffalo’s top 4 D living in the trainer’s room.

  3. … I just listened to the MacTavish interview from last night, he claims that they will not go back to the 1-2-2 formation, but he’s also consistently said through the playoffs he’s not giving away his gameplan, so you never know.

  4. Get the puck deep against them and they seem to have trouble clearing the zone.
    That might be the understatement of the year. I tend to use the phrase “pathological inability.” Believe me, it’s driven us in Carolina insane for years – no matter who’s playing, they seem to be unable to clear the puck.
    I think it’ll still be interesting – Rolo getting hurt is about the best thing that could happen to the Hurricanes though, almost as good as Buffalo’s top 4 D living in the trainer’s room.
    Even worse than that, Buffalo’s top six D were living in Buffalo! Can you imagine how much that must suck? ;-)

  5. Carolina is, right now, a very good team. Honestly, I think the key piece they’re missing is a real minute gobbler on the blueline, an elite dman. Chris Pronger, Rob Blake, Nick Lidstrom, a guy like that. Wesley’s very good, but he’s not great. Cam Ward could be the shining goalie: he’s young yet and it shows sometimes, but he could be it. They’re set up front, although I’m not sure about their checking lines – maybe Erik Cole being gone throws that off a bit. But teams gotta have a stud blueliner and at least a very good goalie to be successful, I think, or at least to be more than a flash in the pan. 2004 the stars aligned right for both Tampa Bay and Calgary to make it to the finals; look where they are now. Same thing with Anaheim a few years ago. Carolina’s in better shape than any of those teams, I think, especially since Feaster’s apparently lost his mind.
    Even worse than that, Buffalo’s top six D were living in Buffalo! Can you imagine how much that must suck? ;-)
    Hah! Yes, I say that often about my previous province of residence. Nova Scotia’s got a very low cost of living, especially compared to Southwestern Ontario, but… you gotta live in Nova Scotia to take advantage of it.

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